The senior care space is saturated, as is the market for senior care marketing agencies. To that end, we’ve prepared a brief guide for selecting the right agency for your senior care organization. Use these best practices to evaluate the agencies knocking on your door.

Demand in the senior care vertical is evergreen, at least with respect to the numbers. According to research from the Urban Institute, there will be 80 million adults aged sixty five or older by the year 2040. With an aging population comes the need for assisted living, hospice care, and other important services.

It’s no surprise that the senior care market is large and highly competitive. The market size for in-home senior care franchises in the United States alone is $16 billion. To stand out, be seen, and keep lead pipelines full, many organizations turn to senior care marketing agencies to execute part or all of the marketing function.

As an established senior care marketing agency with a deep portfolio, we’ve talked to, pitched, won, and grown a variety of senior care accounts. Here’s our no-frills, unbiased guide to selecting an agency for your own senior care organization.

 

1. Have a Clear Understanding of Your Marketing Needs

Before you start reaching out to digital marketing agencies, work internally to determine your specific needs. There are a lot of senior care marketing agencies out there; to the extent possible, narrow your focus so you can narrow the field of candidates. Bring in internal stakeholders to determine why you need the support of a digital agency. What needs will a senior care marketing agency help you fill? For example:

  • In-house team is failing to meet MQL quotas
  • Cost per acquisition is out of control
  • Lack of expertise needed to execute growth strategy
  • Need headcount to scale

From a structural standpoint, we typically see one of three scenarios:

“I am a one-person marketing team and need to outsource everything to an agency.”

The lean-and-mean model is very common in senior care marketing. It’s not uncommon to see a Chief Marketing Officer as the lone member of the marketing team. While providing strategic oversight, they also outsource core marketing activities to an agency, partner, or various software and technology vendors.

“We need an agency to augment our existing in-house team.”

In this scenario, you might have a perfectly capable marketing team that just can’t do it all without burning out. We regularly see senior care marketing teams outsource content creation or search engine optimization (SEO), so that they can focus on core competencies or more urgent matters.

“We need an agency to handle a specific marketing activity.”

Sometimes, certain digital marketing strategies require expertise that you don’t have in-house. Maybe you need to bring in a conversion rate optimization (CRO) specialist to improve campaign ROI. Or perhaps you need digital media specialists to improve the efficiency of your Google Ads strategy.

 

2. Know the Difference Between Specialized and Full-Service Agencies

The decision to bring on a full-service vs. specialized agency goes beyond do it all for me vs. do only some if it for me. There are distinct differences between these two types of agencies in terms of capabilities, personnel, scope of service, and cost. Both have pros and cons, and both can deliver strong results under the right circumstances.

What is a Full-Service Senior Care Marketing Agency?

A full-service agency has the professional experience, technical expertise, tools, and infrastructure to handle all the aspects of a traditional in-house marketing program. This is your solution if you’re looking to hand it all over to a trusted partner that guides and executes the lion’s share of your marketing strategy.

Full-service senior care agency

Full-service marketing agencies have the expertise to handle any of your marketing needs and truly take the reins. 

A full-service agency will integrate with your organization to plan, strategize, build, execute, and analyze your entire marketing strategy.

Full-service agency pros and cons

Full-service marketing agencies have the expertise and can improve your ROI across the board. Do the pros outweigh the cons for your senior care organization?

What is a Specialized Senior Care Marketing Agency?

Not everyone needs the world from their marketing agency. Often, a very specific marketing need arises based on demand, shifts in business strategy, or—let’s be honest—because the C-Suite says so. For example:

  • Web development: “Our site is slow and poorly optimized for mobile experiences.”
  • SEO: “We need to refine our keyword strategy and attract qualified organic traffic.”
  • PPC: “Lead-gen is flagging, and we need to fill the pipeline fast.”
  • Social media: “How do we strengthen our brand presence?”
  • Content: “Our blog is stagnant. Can you revive it?”
  • Email: “How do we build effective nurture sequences?”

Then, of course, there’s video marketing, CRO, and many other specialized marketing services. Again, it comes down to what your particular team needs.

Specialized agency pros and cons

Specialized agencies hone in on one area of expertise. Is that all your senior care facility needs or do you need an agency with more capabilities?

 

3. Ask the Hard Questions

It’s important to know what you need before you reach out to agencies. There are a lot of senior-care-specific marketing agencies out there. When the phone starts ringing, here’s how to differentiate between the good agencies and bad:

  • Direct experience in senior care. Narrow your focus to agencies that understand your target audience. Do they know how to reach not only seniors, but decision-making units (sons, daughters, and other family members)?
  • Senior care case studies. Can the agency provide recent case studies that demonstrate a track record of delivering success for senior care organizations? Here’s what a senior care marketing case study looks like.
  • A results-driven approach. You can avoid being sold a bill of goods by asking your prospective agency to share how exactly they measure, track, and report on progress. By which metrics do they evaluate success?

 

4. Weed Out the Bottom-Feeder Agencies

Unfortunately, not all senior care marketing agencies work in earnest. The first and best way to disqualify an agency is to read their reviews—bonus if someone in your network has encountered an agency in the past. Are they reliable? Do they follow through on what they promise during the pitch?

Here are a few tell-tale signs of agencies you might want to avoid:

  • They promise overnight results.
  • They can’t provide case studies, testimonials, or financial impact statements.
  • They can’t give you a straight answer about how they measure, report, and communicate on performance.
  • They don’t give you access or keep you out of your own accounts

A Real-World Case Study for Senior Care Marketing

At the outset of this blog post, we promised unbiased and uncompromising value. To that end, we must recommend our Complete Guide to Digital Marketing for Senior Care. Read it and take what you need to round out your own digital marketing strategy.

To see these strategies in action, check out our senior living retirement community case study. Our client King’sBridge leaned on us to completely revamp their PPC strategy. The results?

  • 1075 percent YoY increase in PPC conversions
  • 64 percent decrease in PPC cost per acquisition (CPA)
  • 140 percent YoY increase PPC conversion rate
  • 59 percent YoY increase in organic sessions
  • #1 keyword rankings for 4 competitive keywords
  • 92 percent increase in local visibility through Google My Business (GMB) optimization

 

Be Specific and Demand Measurable Results

The senior care providers that reach out to Cardinal Digital Marketing mean business. They put our team through the wringer. They want to see a clear-cut approach to whatever their marketing need might be. They want to know how we’ll measure results. And they ask for case studies, testimonials, and other social proof that underscores our experience in this space.

As they should!

And as you should. No matter which route you go with respect to selecting a senior care marketing agency, our four steps hold their salt:

  • Know your needs
  • Decide between specialized vs. full-service
  • Ask the hard questions
  • Disqualify the bottom-feeders

In such a competitive senior care landscape, your choice of agency might make all the difference.

Alex Membrillo Cardinal CEO

Alex Membrillo

Founder and CEO

Some say Alex Membrillo was born to be CEO of Cardinal Digital Marketing. Others say the Flock chose him. Together with his team of high-flyers, Alex has led Cardinal to exponential growth thanks to an innovative approach to digital marketing. Team awards proudly include A Best Place to Work designation and the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately-held US companies.

A Digital Marketer of the Year by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), Alex also contributes to the Forbes Agency Council, with placements in national publications including Entrepreneur, Search Engine Journal, Physicians Practice, and The Wall Street Journal. He’s served as an expert speaker for the American Marketing Association, HCIC, SMASH Senior Care Marketing & Sales Summit, and SHSMD (among others).